What’s The Difference Between a Mobile Home and Manufactured Home?

Although many people use the terms mobile home and manufactured home interchangeably, technically there is a difference. According to the U.S. Dept of Housing & Urban Development, if the unit you are considering buying was manufactured before June 15, 1976, it’s properly called a “mobile home.” Anything built after that date is a “manufactured home.” The key features of these two types of home are:

Manufactured Home:

  • Each manufactured home conforms to the US government’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, rather than to building codes enforced at the home’s destination.
  • Manufactured homes for sale are built in a factory.
  • Each manufactured home or segment of a home is labeled with a red tag that is the manufacturer’s guarantee the home was built to conform to the HUD code, rather than to building codes at their destinations.
  • Manufactured homes are built on a non-removable steel chassis.
  • Manufactured homes for sale are built in two or three sections and moved on to the property to be attached together to become one big home and be installed on a foundation of some type.
  • Sections of manufactured homes are transported to the building site on their own wheels.
  • Manufactured homes are difficult to refinance because segments of a manufactured mobile home are not always placed on a permanent foundation.
  • Building inspectors check the work done locally but are not required to approve the structure.
  • Manufactured homes are generally less expensive than site built and modular homes.
  • Sometimes decrease in value over time.


Mobile Homes:

  • Mobile homes are prefabricated homes built in factories, rather than on site, and then taken to the place where they will be occupied.
  • Being built on a permanently attached chassis with highway-grade wheels and tires, they are usually transported by being pulled behind a tractor-trailer over public roads to a mobile home site.
  • Today mobile homes are different in size and furnishings despite sharing same historic origin as tractor-trailer.
  • Usually placed in one location and left there permanently, but mobiles homes have the ability to be moved, as required in many areas.
  • Behind the cosmetic work fitted at installation to hide the base, there are strong trailer frames, axles, wheels, and tow-hitches in mobile homes.
  • Mobile homes for sale come in two major sizes, single-wide and double-wide. Triple-wide although not as commonly, even homes with four, five, or more units are also built.
  • Mobile homes are usually in two pieces and are pulled by two separate trucks. Each frame has five or more axles, depending on the size of the home. Once the mobile home has reached its location, the axles and the tongue of the frame are then removed, and the mobile home is set on a concrete foundation by a large crane.

Both manufacture and mobile homes styles are commonly referred to as factory built housing; although it’s technical use is restricted to a class of homes regulated by the Federal National MFD. Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.

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